Managing Editor and Writer, KonMari (Yes, I’m talking Marie Kondo!)
*Not affiliated with any of these organizations.
I’ve heard many people say they are sick of this word recently and also sick of people who are sick of this word. I think it’s because we think of this word in the wrong way (and it can be misused!)
It isn’t about being authentic to your happiness but about being authentic to your growth. Many times growth experiences really suck. They do. I’m saying it. Often the more useful, the more they suck. (I didn’t invent the phrase no pain, no gain, people!)
And this is the reason that you don’t see the words ‘personal brand’ anywhere on this website. That phrase connotes the opposite of authenticity—contrivance, fabrication, artifice. This approach has been toxic to self and society and only with more potential to harm in the age of social media. I talk with clients about contribution, bringing out your voice — and most importantly in your style and on platforms that you feel drawn to. Yeah, it can feel like work to get started that’s ok. But if it continues to feel like an energy suck every day, then it’s not for you, at least not right now.
My consigliere (yes, you read that right Godfather fans) always tells me, “Whatever you need to do in any situation, is the best for everyone. Even if they don’t like it.” Even if you think you are supposed to be on Twitter but you don’t want to.
Listen to where you feel drawn to and what you feel curious about—even if no rhyme or reason to it right now. My clients worklives prove that listening adds up to something beautiful—even thought most of them don’t even realize they did that, they just did.
Recently a client was telling me about a dip in our work together, formalizing her side hustle into a business.
She spoke of parents and friends who responded to her plans. “They don’t seem to believe in me,” she was saying between the lines.
There are a million things on the internet about believing in yourself. But what that inspiration needs to translates into are the actions we take in micro moments one by one.
Whether you are stepping out for the first time, or getting clear on the next jump, here are some things to keep in mind:
Curate your transition tribe
There will be people you want to support you and they can’t. We have to accept that as it is. Resisting it can tangibly slow us down.
You need one person with whom you can be vulnerable about the fear that arises in taking risks. If that person has experience with risk, all the better, but not necessary—any loving cheerleader will do.
In the areas that aren’t your strengths, have people who are good at those things in your support circle. If they aren’t the most risk tolerant, that can be ok. Take their feedback in context.
Know that risk tolerance is a muscle, not a birthright
It is the act of taking a small risk, stepping into something that you have no idea how you are going to pull off, and some how you do. And then you take a bigger one. And repeat.
Make things concrete
I encouraged my client not to think about dropping her job for her side hustle as a conceptual and scary act. We talked about describing the specific situation she would need to be in: $X monthly, $X in the bank, etc. If someone encourages you to blindly leap into quitting your job to go independent, run the other way.
Know your worst-case scenario
What are the top 3 things you would never want to happen? And what is the absolute worst one? Have a plan for handling that and you will feel lighter. And saying it all aloud, you may realize things you hadn’t for example, “If I quit my job, I know they would take me back,” is one I heard recently.
Start the experiment today
Find the smallest, simplest way possible to get going. You learn so much more by making a mistake than thinking about how to get things right. Make a prototype. Talk to someone. Do something to get more information and put yourself in situations to test how you feel about them.
Don’t believe your fear-based narrative or anyone else’s. Address each concern specifically and practically as needed but don’t let them overshadow your vision. No one else can know the trajectory that your life will shape.
From here on out and ever forward, Henceforth.